Ranking the species by threat
Most mosquitos are harmless. That may not be a popular sentiment around these parts, but it’s true. Of the 3,500 different kinds of mosquitos, only about 100 of them actually spread disease. And because it’s only the females that bite people, half of that 100 can immediately be discounted.
But of course, as we know, even if it’s just a few (relatively speaking) mosquitos doing all the damage, it’s still a heck of a lot of damage. The mosquito is the world’s deadliest creature, accounting for the deaths of more than 700,000 people every year.
So, which mosquitos are the worst; the ones we really need to look out for? These six. Although they all spread disease, we’ve ranked them from least to most dangerous.
Mostly found in rural areas, these mosquitos typically travel to homes or farms to feed. At one time, they were the main carrier of malaria in agricultural areas on the west coast. Malaria is no longer a big problem in the U.S., but officials believe another outbreak is possible. The Anopheles freeborni can be identified by the dark spots on its wings
Anopheles quadrimaculatus: Common Malaria Mosquito
Just as freeborni affects the west coast, quadrimaculatus does its damage in the eastern parts of the U.S. In fact, the Anopheles genus is the only one that carries malaria. These mosquitos are dark brown and have long palpi, which are their tasting organs.
Found mostly in California and Utah, this species is the primary carrier of West Nile Virus in rural and agricultural areas. They can also carry California encephalitis, St. Louis encephalitis, and Western equine encephalitis. Their proboscis has a light-colored band around it and they have rounded abdomens.
Culex pipiens: Northern House Mosquito
This mosquito is found all over the U.S. and feeds on people, other mammals, and birds. And it’s because of that latter group that the Culex pipiens is the primary carrier of West Nile Virus. While the virus has only been in the country for about 20 years, there have been cases in all lower 48 states, with Colorado and North and South Dakota having the highest number of incidents. The Culex pipiens is a brown color and has around abdomen.
Aedes albopictus: Asian Tiger Mosquito
These nasty buggers like feeding on humans, pets, and wild animals. And because they seem to prefer our lower extremities and have barely-perceptible bites, we may never know they’ve struck until we start itching. Found in 30 states, they are known for spreading dengue and chikungunya. Aedes albopictus has white stripes around its abdomen and one down its back.
Aedes aegypti: Yellow Fever Mosquito
If you read a news story about troublesome mosquitos, it’s probably this guy. Two things that make them particularly dangerous are the fact that they really like biting people and they enjoy feeding indoors. Plus, often one person won’t satisfy them; in many cases, they feed on multiple people in a short timeframe.
This is why they are so good at spreading diseases, which include Zika, yellow fever, dengue, and chikungunya. Found primarily in the South and Southwest, these mosquitos have also been spotted in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut area. Aedes aegypti is dark-colored and has two white stripes on its back and white bands on its legs.
Unless you are training to be an entomologist, you’re probably not interested in getting close enough to any mosquito to identify it. This is a wise move. These days, you can’t be too careful with mosquitos, which is why you should think about ways to protect your home or business from them. With a misting system, you’ll have a highly-effective way to fight all of these mosquito species. To get more information about having a system installed, contact Platinum Mosquito Protection for a free onsite consultation.